News on the go: April 16, 2013

Maura Zurick

The Venezuelan government said Monday it would quickly certify former President Hugo Chavez’s handpicked successor. Some Venezuelans and members of the opposition party demanded for a recount in the tight race. The announcement will heighten instability in the deeply polarized South American nation. Nicolas Maduro was elected president Sunday by a vote of 50.7 to 49.1.

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North Koreans celebrated the birthday of their first leader Monday by dancing and enjoying the holiday. There was little talk about nuclear threats and the country focused on celebration as opposed to warnings of a missile launch. Last year in Pyongyang, officials launched a rocket on the anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birth. However, this year’s two-day holiday was started with residents who filled the capital’s streets. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned North Korea not to conduct a missile test, saying it would be provocation.

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The Vatican said Monday that Pope Francis supports the Holy See’s crackdown on a group of United States nuns. The hope was that Francis, whose emphasis on the poor, would take a different approach than his predecessor, however, he did not. The Vatican said last year the sisters took positions that undermined Catholic teachings and promoted feminism. Some people praised the nuns for their humanitarian work, but the Vatican accused them of ignoring critical issues such as homosexuality and abortion. Pope Francis supports the idea of “program reform” throughout the church.

Singer Alicia Keys said she is hoping to spark a conversation about HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Keys met with women who are part of an HIV program at United Medical Center in Washington D.C. to learn about their experiences with the virus. Keys has also traveled to Africa and India to meet with women who have HIV. She said her goal is to raise awareness about the virus and get people talking about it. Keys is working with the Kaiser Family Foundation for “Empowered,” a campaign that launched in March to educate women about HIV.

All information is from The Associated Press.

Contact Maura Zurick at [email protected].